Britney Griner: Megan Rapinoe and Steph Curry call for star release on ESPYS

USWNT star Megan Rapinoe and four-time NBA champion Steph Curry were among the big names who brought attention to the Griner case at a sporting achievement event.

“Hoping for the best, we urge the entire global sports community to continue to be active for her,” Curry said as WNBA stars Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith joined in on the issue.

“She is one of us, the team of athletes in this hall tonight and around the world. A team that has nothing to do with politics or global conflict.”

Griner was arrested in February at a Moscow airport after Russian officials said they found cannabis oil in her luggage. The basketball star, who plays in Russia during the WNBA off-season, has since been in custody on charges of drug smuggling.

The 31-year-old man, who was classified by the US State Department as illegally detained, pleaded guilty to drug possession and faces up to 10 years in prison.

Supporters of the Phoenix Mercury player have called for her release over fears she is being used as a political pawn in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Britney Griner before the hearing near Moscow on July 15.

Rapinoe, who received an award for her performances at the USWNT, used her acceptance speech to highlight what the sports community can do to help.

“I sincerely think that tonight we have witnessed the importance of sport and how much we can bring and how much we can do in the world with our collective strength,” she said.

“Every time we say her name, it puts pressure on everyone, puts pressure on the administration, puts pressure on Russia. The most striking thing is that BG [Brittney Griner] doesn’t it, sir BG deserves to be free.

“We can support her more and let her know that we love her very much.”

Rapino previously paid tribute to Griner when she received Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian honor in the US – when she wore a cream blazer with the initials “BG” and a bouquet of flowers embroidered on the lapel.

Billie Jean King, one of America’s most famous tennis players, also mentioned the Griner case at the awards ceremony, saying, “First, bring BG home. Okay, I have to do it.”

Last week, Griner’s defense filed a 2020 Arizona clearance letter with the US Medical Center in a Russian court for Griner’s use of medical cannabis to treat her chronic pain caused by sports injuries.

The trial has now been delayed until July 26 after her lawyers said they needed more time to prepare for their next steps.

CNN’s Elizabeth Wolf, Anna Chernova, Rosa Flores, Jacqueline Rose and Alexa Miranda contributed to this report.